The Saint Joseph's women's rowing team is in England for the Henley Women's Regatta on June 16-18. The Hawks will share their experiences and photos during the trip in this daily blog and photo album

June 9:
Hello y'all! My name is Katherine Robb, and I am a rising Senior at SJU. This year I plan to graduate with a degree in Accounting and Business Intelligence with a minor in History. I have been rowing for a little over three years, and this is my second time coming to London. Our team left Philadelphia on a red eye to Heathrow Thursday night. Personally, this was one of the tougher red eyes I've experienced due to the cute baby next to me who was a bit grumpy but he was very cute! After arriving in Heathrow and getting through customs, we all went to the hotel near the Putney area, which is closer to our boathouse on the Thames.

In typical fashion, we arrived hungry. After some napping and breakfast, we went for a run on the Thames to scout out the area we would be rowing. The scenery was beautiful, and the greenery was enchanting. The photos are from our run and the landscape along the Thames: Wandsworth Park near our hotel and the Vesta Boathouse, which we will be rowing out of the next few days.

After our short run, we all headed back to the hotel to prepare to head to London. We took the National Railway to the city and began to explore. Much of our time was devoted to walking around the Trafalgar Square area where we stopped for Thai for dinner. After Thai, we stopped at a cool ice cream place called Milk Train that wraps waffle cones in cotton candy. I got the matcha green tea ice cream.

Overall, it was an incredible first day. All of us were delighted with the scenery, observing the way of life, and simply the experience of being abroad. Already from the first day, I can tell this will be an experience of a lifetime that would not be possible without the help of our coaches, school, friends, and family. We are so grateful for all of y'all and the opportunity we have been given to represent SJU. Thank you to everyone who supported us coming here!

Cheers and go Hawks!
Katherine Robb, Class of 2018

June 10:
Hey everyone! My name is Isabella Haleski and I am a rising Sophomore and International Business major as well as an International Student from Peru.

Today was our second day in London and who ever said that it always rains here is lying. We got blessed with some nice high and sunny weather which made our first row so nice. We got our ‘wellies' on and docked. We got to row for a while and enjoy the beautiful scenery that being in the Thames provided. After our row we jogged half way back to our hotel.

After this, we decided to hit center city London and explore. We were all extremely hungry by this point so we decided to eat in a pub, accomplishing to some, our first pub experience. Then we visited the touristy things around London. We walked around places like St Paul's Cathedral, The London Eye, Big Ben and areas that include Soho and China Town.

Naturally after all this walking we all were exhausted and decided to come back to the hotel in Putney and eat around the area. It was a very exhausting day but worth it. Exploring London with your teammates is a unique and wonderful experience. Can't wait to see what other adventures are left for us!

Stay weird!
Isabella Haleski, Class of 2020

June 11:
Hi Everyone! My name is Allie Howell and I am a rising Sophomore at SJU! I am an IHS (Interdisciplinary Health Services) major and I am from Connecticut. I have been rowing since my freshman year in High School.

Our London experience so far has been absolutely amazing!! This morning we started our day bright and early! We walked to the Vesta boathouse, which is where we have been rowing for the past few days, and it is a beautiful walked through some of the residential areas and parks along the Thames River.

Once we were ready to go with our wellies on and the launches and boats in the water we began our row! Today we did about a 14k along the Head of The River course and got to see the beautiful riverbanks and more rowers from other boat clubs along the Thames.

Once we came back in from our row we hoped on the ergs and did 4x500 meters. Even though we were tired we all pushed ourselves on these max power pieces so that we could be more prepared for our racing in Henley and have the afternoon off to go back to exploring London!

After our practice, we had a team lunch at The Rocket which is right alongside of the Thames where we had a beautiful view and nice breeze. Everyone headed into the city later that afternoon and we got to explore even more!! Those of us who hadn't visited all of the popular tourist sites in London made sure to visit them all! We saw Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Palace, and Buckingham Palace!

After all of our sightseeing we were exhausted and had to grab some food and then head back to our hotel to rest up for our travels on Monday! We were a little delayed when we got to the train station because there was no direct train to go back to our hotel, so we had to take a train and then walk about a mile to get back! Even though we were exhausted we had so much fun exploring on our walk back together!

Henley here we come!!
Allie Howell, Class of 2020

June 12
Hi, my name is Gabby Argo, I am a rising sophomore and a food marketing major. I have been coxing for 5 years and I am the current coxswain of the Varsity 8.

Today was our last morning in London. We started with a team breakfast in the hotel then started our journey to the town of Henley. It began with a parade of suitcases to the local train station that would drop us off at the big city train station, London Waterloo. Once we arrived in downtown London, during rush hour to be noted, it was a mad house. The fourteen of us struggled just to stay out of the way of the busy people rushing to work on a Monday morning. We then found our way down a series of escalators to the "tube", which is basically London's cleaner version of the NYC subway. A few stops later we ended up in Paddington where we awaited the arrival of the regional rail that would take us to Henley. After only one missed train, we made it to the town of Henley in just about an hour.

Once we arrived, we had a brief meeting with our host families at the respective B&B's, then headed to the course.  

We found our way to the Upper Thames Rowing Club where we located our boat and oars. Luckily our shell was already rigged up for us, so soon after we headed to a local café for a quick lunch. After a few sandwiches and salads, we ventured back to the course for our first row. As a cox, it is important to know the the rules of the river and the traffic pattern for practice to makes sure I am keeping the crew as safe as possible. As this being my first time on the course, it was a rather stressful event, but i quickly learned the ways of the river. Once I felt comfortable with the layout of the river, I grabbed my life jacket and cox box and called "hands on".

Our first row was a good way to stretch out the legs and get a feel for the land. After a few 250m pieces, we were docked and back on land. As the eyes of the boat, I focused more on steering straight down the course in the respective lanes. The course itself is very narrow and does not look like it would fit two boats next to each other, but you can just barely squeeze both boats across. After the first practice, we had about three hours of rest until our second row at 7 pm. Luckily here it stays light out until almost 10pm, so the river was still pretty busy.

Our second row was comprised of a longer warm up and more power strokes to practice our race plan and get prepared for race day. We were on and off the water in just under an hour. We strapped the boat down to slings, collected the oars, and called it a night on the river. For dinner we found ourselves at the oldest pub in the town of Henley for enough fish and chips and gelato to go around. Can't wait for our next chance to get out on the river!

Stay humble,
Gabby Argo

June 13
Hi my name is Cailin McCully and I am rising senior here at SJU. I am a Communications major with a minor in Marketing.

Today in Henley, we continued our training regimen with two practices on the Thames River. Our practices consisted of our final "race pace" pieces that we'll take before racing this weekend! In the morning we did a full run through a 1500 meter race on the course, trying to familiarize ourself with the landmarks throughout the race course. In between practices, most of us went to the grocery store to get snacks and settle into our new homes in Henley. After our break we headed our second practice (armed with plenty of sunscreen and water because it was extraordinarily hot!) where we did a few shorter pieces to practice different elements of the race and once again orient us to the new race course. Following practice, we did a team dinner (minus the coaches) at Italian restaurant called Zizzi's where we filled up on some delicious pastas and pizzas. Full of food and exhausted from practice, we returned to our Henley home ready to rest up for the next big day ahead of us.

June 14
Hi everyone! My name's Kiernan Loue, I'm a rising sophomore, and history and classical studies double major. I've been rowing since I was a sophomore in high school, and ever since then my dream has been to race at the Henley. Not only is racing at the Henley a dream come true, but being in England itself is almost equally as amazing.

On Wednesday we had our normal morning practice on the River Thames. The walk there was filled with commuters and more and more athletes as we filled into the walkway that led to where we had tied our boats down. Even though the walk is long, the excitement I feel as I watch Leander (the best club team in the world) row by, or think of all the great boats that have come before me, makes the walk very easy.

For practice we did our basic steady state, throwing in some high stroke every once in awhile. This course is legendary in the rowing community, and the fact that we even get to row it is incredible. There are markers at the end of the race course that commemorate the finish lines of past Olympics, and the fact that I get to row on the same river as Olympians once did makes the extra pass we weren't suppose to do okay I guess. After we settled into the official regatta boat racks where all crews will be launching out of, we were given an hour and a half to hustle ourselves to the train station to scurry over to Bath. So after a brisk speed walk to our host homes, expedited showers, and some toast to keep from passing out, we hopped on a train (or three) to journey to the famous town of Bath.

Bath is famous for its hot springs that Romans used to create Baths in the towns center. As a history major, walking around this town was breath taking. The architecture is incredible, and just walking around a city so old makes my heart skip a beat quite frankly. This town was in no sense small, well not Henley on the Thames small, so we walked for hours. I don't think I've walked as much as I have this past week, but every step has definitely been worth it.

As we gear up for the ultimate closing of this trip, I can only think of how lucky I am to be able to participate in such an event as a rising sophomore. Many girls are not given the chance to live out their dreams in their lifetimes, let alone their first years of college. I'm so thankful for the team that I have become apart of, and thankful for SJU for believing in us also.

Thank you for making a dream come true.

Go Hawks!!
Kiernan Loue, Class of '20

June 15:

Hi- My name is Brianna Stone and I am a rising junior, majoring in criminal justice with a minor in psychology. I have been rowing since freshman year of high school and will be racing in the double at the Henley Women's Regatta. With tomorrow being race day for Reece and I, practice was mostly steady state with a couple of solid race paced 250's through the wind.

There were way more boats out today with all of the crews that have arrived for the weekend so it was busy and stressful. Luckily we had a great practice and got to focus on the race and let ourselves get excited for tomorrow. After practice we got to pick up what everyone had been waiting for - our official, handmade Henley blazers. They fit perfectly. Everyone loved them and could not wait to wear them later tonight.

After lunch, showers, and naps, we got ready for our team dinner and foreign crew party where we could finally wear our blazers and take as many pictures in them as possible. The crew party was in the rowing museum, so it was really cool to see everything (for free) and be in the presence of other crews from the USA, Germany, Australia, and Ireland.

Today was a long busy day, and I know that tomorrow will fly by. For Reece and I, it is race day! Hopefully the weather stays this gorgeous. Except for the wind. 

Stay hydrated
Bri Stone

June 16:
Hi- my name is Reece Long, and I'm an interdisciplinary health services major in combination with the Thomas Jefferson physical therapy program. 

Today Bri Stone and I raced the double in time trials. Unfortunately we did not advance to the next round but we were pleased with our race. We went from having little to no sculling experience to finishing side by side with the other American crews. Despite the results, racing at the Henley Women's Regatta was by far the best racing experience in my rowing career. Bri and I went into the race with the mindset that we would give it our all and remember to have fun and really let the reality of representing Saint Joe's at the Henley Women's Regatta sink in. 

From the kindness of the officials to the thrill of racing, this regatta has been a once in a lifetime experience. As our time here in England comes to and end, I look forward to experiencing what else Henley has to offer!

June 17
Hi my name is Caroline Strauss and I am a rising senior here at SJU majoring in Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Sustainability in the Haub School of Business. I am rather new to rowing because I only walked on to the team my sophomore year, but that did not make me any less appreciative of this amazing adventure across the pond to race at the Henley. 

Today marked the day that we've all been waiting for. Race day. I still remember when our captains announced that we would be sending a crew to row in England, and the unbelievable excitement about such an amazing opportunity. The day was inordinately hot. It was around 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky that could relieve us from the sun's burning rays. Our team met at a street corner and walked to the race course together, armed with water and lathered with sunscreen. 

After a quick warm up jog and some pre-race pump up music, Coach Maria led us through a stretch before we headed out onto the water to warm up. We got in some power strokes and practice starts then headed to the stake boats. Being new to the sport, I always get a little nervous prior to races, but the nervousness and butterflies I had before this race were unlike anything I've ever experienced. As soon as we got alignment, an overwhelming sense of awe and fear filled my entire body. We were racing at Henley and it was incredible. 

For those of you who didn't get the chance to watch the race (either in person or online), I'll spare you the suspense and just tell you that we lost. I think I speak for every one of the girls in our boat when I say that we poured our hearts and all our energy into those 1500 meters because that's what you do when you race at the Henley. However, I'm not exaggerating when I say that Northeastern's girls were HUGE and simply just over powered us. In the words of Kiernan, "in the world of cars, they were semis and we were fiats." 

I think all of us leave will leave this trip with no regrets however. It is a memory that we will always treasure and never forget. Thank you to all the coaches, parents, donors, and administrators who made it possible; we are eternally grateful. 

Caroline Strauss, Class of 2018